Eric Koester of Zaarly: I’m Bullish on the Midwest [VIDEO]

In 2011, Zaarly probably set a record by raising $1 million in funding just three weeks after they started. What began as an idea at Startup Weekend LA soon had the backing of investors like Paul Bucheit, Naval Ravikant, and Ashton Kutcher.

Zaarly went on to raise $14 million more later that year for a “reverse marketplace”: people would post requests for things they needed, like picking up Chinese food or walking a dog, and others would respond.

But last September, Zaarly switched its focus to “storefronts,” web pages where individuals or small businesses could advertise their services. The goal is to put a human face on local businesses, compared to huge, faceless chain stores – to replicate the feel of a farmer’s market or indie bookstore, but online.

Cofounder and COO Eric Koester made an appearance at our SXSW Startup Celebration sponsored by CEA and .CO. Among other things, Koester talks about the activity he’s seen in the Midwest both from startups at NEXT and small businesses on Zaarly. Here’s the video.

Tech Cocktail’s SXSW video series is part of the Tech Cocktail Conversations podcast – subscribe on iTunes. badge_itunes-sm

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Yappem, the title sponsor of Tech Cocktail’s special SXSW video series. And thank you to Keep America Beautiful, the supporting video sponsor.

Did you find this article helpful? Click on one of the following buttons
We're so happy you liked! Get more delivered to your inbox just like it.

We're sorry this article didn't help you today – we welcome feedback, so if there's any way you feel we could improve our content, please email us at

Written by:
Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact
Back to top